I’m officially a 1-year-old today as a freelancer!

Image by Jukan Tateisi

How time flies! Today marks my first 365 days working as a freelancer.

After an expected laid off when the Covid-19 pandemic (I’m sure you all still remember) took its first hit in Canada, I realized how “job security” is really a myth. Things can change overnight. Degrees, experiences, past successes, and the value you can offer as an employee won’t matter much once you’ve become a liability to the business due to externalities. Rather than disappointing myself with more rejection letters or gaslighting from recruiters, I decided to do something different by becoming a freelancer.

On May 2nd, 2020…


Dedicate your effort to service the better clients, better.

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This week, I had to make a difficult decision to let one of my newest clients go. But it happened, for a good reason.

If you had asked me a few months ago, I wouldn’t believe that I would let go of a client who’s in an interesting niche and offers a competitive rate and long-term potential. In this article, I’ll share my reflections from this short-lived project, and hopefully, this will help you navigate through the problem if you ever find yourself in similar situations.

In late May, I brought a new client on board for a 12-week long…


My interview with TaskShift.

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I was recently invited for an interview to share my experience as a freelancer by TaskShift, an online freelance marketplace that allows freelance to keep 97% of their earnings. This week, I’ll share the interview with you, hopefully, my story can provide some useful tips for those of you who are looking forward to, or have already started to work freelance.

Q — Welcome Vivian Cheng, we really appreciate you for taking some time out for today’s interview. Would you please share a bit about yourself with our readers?

My name is Vivian Cheng, born and raised in Beijing, China…


Let’s talk about the financial sense of client retention on Upwork and beyond.

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I have recently chatted with a reader about opening up a freelancer account on Upwork. After explaining how the payment structure works on Upwork, he realized how important it is to retain clients from Upwork and was surprised that I haven’t dedicated a post for this matter.

For those of you who don’t already know Upwork, it is a worldwide freelancing platform that connects businesses and freelancers, a one-stop solution for companies to recruit freelancers, collaborate on projects, and manage contracts from all over the world. I’ve joined the platform for just over a year and have established a steady…


Job Hunting

Size often matters, but don’t rule out smaller organizations just yet.

Back in the days during my university years in business school, it was always the ones who got internships from big corporate companies or top consulting firms that received the most attention, praise, and jealous eyes from the cohort.

I was too, admitted to the Co-Op program in which I could be supported by the university to apply for internship roles and receive full-time experiences from companies with flashy names. …


Win contracts that are “out of your league” and deliver great performance.

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I didn’t start being a freelancer with tons of relevant experience but managed to establish a self-sufficient freelance career under 12 months. If you are suffering from imposter syndrome or don’t know how to get started in a field where you are inexperienced, this article is for you.

Imposter Syndrome: a psychological pattern in which individual doubts their skills, talents, or accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. — Wikipedia

In May 2020, just shortly after I got laid off from my first-ever office-based full-time internship after university due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I…


A comparison between working with agencies and servicing your own clients.

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During the first year of my freelance career, while finding my feet in this novel space, I have had the opportunity to explore different setups with other teams and clients.

For both digital marketing and public relations, the two areas of service that I offer on Upwork, I’ve tried working solo with my own clients and collaborating with other agencies to help out their clients. The source of all differences between the two options is the ownership of the clients. Along the way, I found a list of things that I enjoyed and disliked in both routes.

In this article…


When, why, and how should you start outsourcing, or not?

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It has been an unusual week for me full of novel tasks.

Kicking off the second year in my freelance career, I’m finding myself facing challenges that weren’t available to me in Year 1. Among these tasks, the most interesting one is outsourcing.

Working almost entirely solo in Year 1, I oftentimes served as a supporting role for my client’s internal team. Now, with more opportunities become available to me in Year 2, I’m finding myself not having time for all projects and responsibilities that I’m interested in. …


Image: Unsplash

During the global pandemic, companies on a global scale have been shifting their workflow from physical to digital. As more major companies move into a 100% remote structure, project-based roles are becoming increasingly attractive for both employers and professionals.

For employers: hiring project-based contractors is more cost-efficient. Without additional costs for hirings, such as employee benefits, pension plans, and the overhead for traditional office space, employers can allocate the budget into hiring more skilled freelancers and pay by deliverables. …


Using KPIs for clients to fuel a profitable and sustainable freelance career

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After an eventful year in the freelancing space, I’ve established a solid foundation with a collection of positive reviews and a network of clients. As I’m looking back on the progress made, I realized that the “ideal client” that I look for changed a few times over the course of just one year.

In this article, I’ll go in-depth in my KPIs and the rationale for choosing clients in three stages to a profitable freelance career with great potential.

Stage 1: Collect Positive Reviews

I was in this stage for six months since I started freelancing. …

Vivian Cheng

Top-Rated Digital Marketing & PR Specialist on Upwork. I write about personal stories, reflections, and solutions to a fulfilling and holistic freelance career.

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